July 13: 10 Tammuz
It was on this day in 586 B.C. that the king of Judah was overtaken and captured by the Babylonians on the plain in Jericho (Jeremiah 36:4-5).
Looking at this from the perspective of the Jewish people, the impossible had happened. Their once great nation and their beautiful capital was reduced to ruins. Their nobles had been killed including the king’s children. The king had been led, in chains, into captivity. Everything was chaos and life had become a daily challenge to survive.
As we noted in the previous devotion, among those who were victims of this catastrophe were four righteous men – Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These faithful men, along with everyone else, saw their nation reduced to ruins. Everything that they held dear, everything that was precious to them was destroyed, and yet, these men continued to serve God faithfully.
As we also noted in the previous devotion, God will allow tragedies to befall His people but if He does, it’s never with the intention of destroying His people. In the end, it’s always with the intention to serve their best interests and to bring them to repentance and to restoration. That’s always the goal when He allows this kind of correction. In this particular case, we see that when faithful men remain so, in spite of their circumstances, God uses them to provoke the wicked to glorify God.
When Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s idol and went boldly into the fire, God met them there and delivered them from the flames. As a result, the most powerful man in the world at that time was provoked to declare that the God of Israel is the Most High God. And so, it’s important for us to see that we must remain faithful in spite of our circumstances.
Presently, our world is deteriorating. Everything that we have cherished and held dear is slipping away. In America, many are beginning to see that while so many more seem completely oblivious to what’s really going on. In some ways we’re living what those four righteous Jews lived through. The question is, are we going to be faithful in spite of our circumstances? Are we going to let God do what He has determined to do without bailing out?
If we believe that we are living in the last days, now is not the time to give up or to flee. Think about this: if Daniel and the other three righteous men had fled when they saw these things coming upon the nation, they couldn’t have been in Babylon. If they weren’t in Babylon, they couldn’t have been thrown into the fiery pit. If they weren’t in the fiery pit, then Nebuchadnezzar might never have confessed that the God of Israel is the Almighty God. So then, might it be that we have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this? Might it be that the Creator wants us to remain faithful to Him in spite of what’s going on and not take matters into our own hands and run away and hide? Maybe we have been placed here, now, to be like those men – faithful in spite of what’s going on around us. If we do that, it just might provoke the kings of this world to confess that our God is God.
Restoration is not predicated upon what the heathen does or doesn’t do. Restoration is predicated upon what God’s people do. We were placed here to be a light for the sake of those who are in darkness and, therefore, we must commit ourselves to serve Him. For the sake of those who don’t know Him, we have been placed here that they may come to know Him through our faithfulness. May we all stay true to what we’ve been called to do in spite of the circumstances swirling around us.